City Desk

Judge Orders Investigation Into Pershing Park Evidence

At today's hearing concerning Pershing Park, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered an investigation into the long-standing discovery abuses in the case. Legal Times reports:

"Calling the District of Columbia's alleged destruction of evidence in a long-running civil suit against the city 'very troubling,' a federal district judge in Washington today appointed a magistrate judge to find out what’s happened to missing video, audio and paper files....

Judge Emmett Sullivan, who is presiding over both suits, tapped Magistrate Judge John Facciola to examine the alleged destruction of evidence, including the missing video. Sullivan granted Facciola the authority to call upon experts for the investigation. The judge expects Facciola to make recommendations to the court."

In public filings, plaintiffs lawyers had recently spotlighted the problems with faulty videotape evidence and the troubling affidavit from a government witness. In a filing on March 27, plaintiffs wrote the court alarmed that the District is still finding materials. Even more alarming: the documents seem to refute the District's assertion that only one MPD officer shot video footage at Pershing Park.

Plaintiffs lawyers wrote that the District's Office of the Attorney General turned over 150 pages of "never-before-revealed" data concerning the use of rooftop-video recordings at Pershing Park on Sept. 27, 2002. Those roof-top vids have never been turned over to plaintiffs:

"The newly disclosed material makes clear that the District had in its possession, for some period of time, approximately 84 videotapes containing video footage from IMF protests that occurred in 2002...As the court knows, the District previously denied any such videotapes existed in relation to the 2002 protests."

The 84 videotapes appear to be videotapes from the entire year. All the videotapes would have concerned more events than just Pershing Park.

We will have more on this soon.

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  • Jacob

    Does this really come as a surprise to anyone? Peter Nickels should be disbarred and Charles Ramsay, Cathy Lainer and any other MPD officials who were involved in this should face criminal charges for, if nothing else, evidence tampering and obstruction of justice.